Architectural Context and Aspects of Ritual Behavior at Late Minoan IIIC Kavousi Vronda
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The Late Minoan IIIC settlement at Kavousi Vronda, located in the northern foothills of the Thriphti mountain range in eastern Crete, consisted of about twenty houses clustered in complexes around the slopes and summit of the ridge, a large “special status” building on the summit where communal feasting and drinking rituals took place, a shrine or temple on the southwest slope in which were dedicated numerous terracotta statues of the “goddess with upraised arms,” and a kiln. Evidence suggests that the settlement may have been inhabited for four generations (or around 120 years, ca. 1170–1050 B.C.E.) before being abandoned at the end of the LM IIIC period. As an extensively excavated and published settlement site, Kavousi Vronda has provided insight into domestic activities, architecture, religion, and social organization of a small community during the Late Bronze Age to Early Iron Age transition on Crete. In this poster, we present an architectural analysis of the shrine/temple (Building G) focusing on building materials, construction techniques, design, morphology, and spatial qualities that define the physical context for ritual activities. Our approach responds to the methodological framework of earlier scholars, including Renfrew and Prent, who proposed a system of archaeological correlates for cult activity in the prehistoric Aegean. We use Building G as a case study in non-monumental, vernacular architecture to focus on the contribution of the constructed space to ritual activity. In association with terracotta statues and other cult equipment (e.g., snake tubes, kalathoi, plaques) found within and around it, the architecture of Building G provides important evidence for understanding the ritual behavior and religious practices of the Vronda community, especially in terms of the construction of space for dedication and display, attention focusing devices, and the potential for participation by members of the community both inside and outside of the building.
DescriptionAbstract of poster presented at the 121st Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America, Washington, DC, January 2–5, 2020.
Early Iron Age
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